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(Wo)man's Best Friend Deserves a Spot at the Firepit - Outdoor Design Series, Pt 6 Bonus

Earlier this week I showed you the solid wood Adirondack chairs at our fire pit and they are nothing short of amazing. But I quickly realized that Rio, aka the best dog ever, didn't actually like sitting in them because of the way the seat slopes back. Apparently it is not puppy ergonomics approved.

Two bright orange-red adirondack chairs with a small-medium red and white dog sitting in the right chair.
She's humoring me - she does not like sitting in these chairs. So I decided to make Rio her own spot.

Is this really a problem?, not really, since she generally prefers lying on the hard floor over a bed, but that's not the point. She's a big part of our family and since she is always outside when we are, including fire pit time, I decided she needed her own puppy spot. Will she actually use it? Probably not, but we all know that's not really the point.

The Inspired Workshop has several fantastic projects and I ran across their DIY Large Dog Bed Post while looking on Pinterest for inspiration and since I loved it, I decided to make my own instead of spending hours designing something that would probably end up looking similar. I could use the same paint as I did for the Adirondack chairs so it would match, customize it with Rio's name and add a cute bed (that stays inside when we aren't actively using it). The Inspired Workshop used fence pickets which is honestly pretty genius since they're 1) impervious to the elements and 2) super cheap. Voila! Too easy. And it cost me less than $50, including the plush pillow that I picked up from Ikea.

Quick Lesson: This project uses beveled edges to create clean lines at the corners (which means you'll need a miter saw that can make said cuts). If you know what a bevel is, great...if you're not quite sure what I'm talking about and are about to start googling, let me save you a few seconds and share a quick lesson and graphic courtesy of an instructables article.

  • A miter cut is made at an angle other than 90°, with the blade vertical.

  • A bevel cut is made with the blade tilted over.

  • A compound miter cut is a combination of a miter and bevel cut.

Straight vs miter vs bevel cuts.

My Ryobi miter saw is a compound sliding miter saw meaning it can make pretty much any cuts my heart desires, making this project a breeze.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way, here's what you need:

Tools Needed:

  • Table saw (or circular saw with straight edge)

  • Compound miter saw

  • Orbital sander

  • Kreg jig

  • Drill with bits

  • Nail gun

Materials Used:

  • Sandpaper (80 and 220 grit)

  • 1 1/2" exterior pocket screws (16)

  • 1" exterior pocket screws (4)

  • Wood glue

  • 1" brad nails

  • Paint/stain


  • (5) 6" wide x 6' long fence pickets

  • (2) 2x2x8

Step 1 - Cut the pieces.

6" wide x 6' long Fence Pickets Cut List:

2x2x8 Cut List:

Three 2x2x8s and five 6" wide fence pickets ready to be cut and sanded.
2x2x8s and 6" wide fence pickets - it doesn't get much simpler than that!

If you're like me and have trouble visualizing where the beveled edges go, lay out the pieces and dry fit everything. From there you can see where the corners will line up and fit together.

2x2x8 and 6" fence pickets cut to length, sanded, and dry fit together.
Dog bed pieces cut and dry fit together checking to make sure the beveled edges fit together.

Step 2 - Sand.

I know, I know, it's a dog bed, it's going to be outside, why bother sanding? I can't help it. Even though it will probably never be used, I wanted it to look nice and match our Adirondack chair color, so I needed the paint to go on evenly. So I followed my normal sanding routine, started with 80 grit and finished with 220. I won't judge you if you skip this step, just know your paint/stain might look a little less than perfect.

Cut pieces of wood being smoothed with an orbital sander. In the background there is a small-medium reddish brown dog laying on the garage floor covered in sawdust.
Please note the helpful ball of fluff (aka Rio) that this entire project is for.

Step 3 - Pre-drill pocket holes for the frame.

Drill 1 1/2" pocket holes in the 2x2 front/back rails (H) and middle/bottom rails (I) as shown below.

Drill 1/2" pocket holes in the 7" fence picket slat (C) as show below.

Step 4 - Paint/Stain.

If you have read any of my other tutorials, you'll know that I like to do the main finishing of my pieces BEFORE assembling, especially when there are rails and slots that would be difficult to get a paint brush into to cover all the nooks and crannies. So I laid all my pieces out and applied a coat of Behr exterior enamel in 100mph satin finish, let it sit for two hours, sanded lightly and applied a second coat.

Step 5 - Assemble.

Start with the frame, attaching the back rail (H) to two legs (G), 2" from the end with 1 1/2" pocket screws. Add the left and right side rails (I) - I put 2" worth of scrap wood underneath to keep the rails level and attach with 1 1/2" pocket screws. Add the front rail (H), attaching the same way. Finally add the last 24" piece (I) directly in the middle of the frame, securing with 1 1/2" pocket screws.

Note: It doesn't matter if the pocket screws are facing in or out since they won't be visible either way.

Add the four full length bottom slats (F), securing with 1" brad nails at each edge and the middle.

Red-orange bottom pieces sitting on top of the frame pieces inside the legs.
Add the bottom pieces, fitting them in between the legs on top of the rails.

Now it's time to start adding the slats. Start with (5) 34" slats for the back (A) - line the first one up with the frame, covering up the 2x2 and the pocket screws, attaching with wood glue and nails.. From there, add the other four slats, the last one (at the top) should be flush with the top of the legs. Take the last 34" slat (A) and cover the 2x2 frame at the front.

1 1/2" back slat pieces attached to the legs.
Back slat pieces attached.

Add the left and right side slats in the same way, lining up the beveled corners, securing with nails.

Now all that's left is the front. Add the front top slats (E) on either side, lining each up with the corresponding top side slat. Attach each vertical support (C) to the top side slat with 1" pockets screws. Add the front middle slats (D), lining them up with the corresponding side slats. Attach to the vertical support using glue and nails.

Front bed pieces attached and labeled for clarity.
Front pieces labeled.

Finally, add the 15" front flat board (J) in between the vertical supports - I painted this piece black for contrast. I added Rio's name in that same color (Behr's Little Black Dress) - if our chairs have our names on them, then Rio's should too! A pup deserves to feel special after all.

Bright red-orange frame with the name "Rio" painted in black script.
Our chairs are personalized, Rio's spot should be too!
Bright red-orange outdoor dog bed, beveled slats lined up at the corners.
Rio's finished firepit bed!

Now all that was left was to add a waterproof(ish) bed (I grabbed this one from Ikea) and aforementioned helper dog!

Small-medium red and white dog sitting in a red-orange outdoor dog bed with a black and white dog bed.
Whether or not she'll actually use it is a good question, but she sure is cute!

I think she likes it! Will she actually use it when we're fire-pitting? Uhhhh, probably not haha but that's okay, it's there if she changes her mind.

Small-medium red and white dog sitting in a bright red-orange dog bed with a black and white pillow.
She sure seems to enjoy it!

Rio's special puppy spot with the rest of our firepit furniture. Now that you have the dog bed, you should make some Adirondack chairs! And have you seen the back deck?

Five Adirondack chairs and an outdoor dog bed - all bright red-orange in color - arranged around a firepit with a house and back deck in the background.
Adirondack chairs and puppy beds!

If you build your own puppy-firepit-awesomeness I'd love to see it Tag us at @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedtutorials...bonus points if it includes pictures of your dog. Happy building!

Love this idea but don't have time right now? Save this pin for later!

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